February 21st, 2011

5 Vegetables That You Don’t Need to Peel

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Groovy Green Livin vegetables

Vegetables are gorgeous- the bright colors, the crunch and the variety. The benefits from eating vegetables stack up quickly: reducing your risk of certain chronic diseases, keeping your weight in check and boosting your immune system. Eating vegetables is one of the best things you can do for your diet and your body.

I recently started eating  most vegetables whole, raw and with the peel on.  Sometimes they don’t look as pretty  (especially carrots), but the taste is sweet and delicious. The peel stays put so I can reap the full benefit from the veggies-lots of fiber and nutrients.  Nature made them that way, and let’s face it- peeling is a pain.

There are a few situations where you SHOULD peel vegetables:

  • If the outer skin or peel has a bitter taste.
  • When the produce isn’t organic and could be laden with heavy doses of pesticides.
  • If your digestive system can’t handle peels.

If you are buying organic and the peel is edible and tastes OK-resist the temptation to peel. Most likely you are peeling away important nutrients.

5 vegetables that don’t need to be peeled

Photo used under Creative Commons from Color Line

Carrots

Most nutrients in a carrot are actually in, or just below the skin. Carrots are an excellent source of carotene and other phenolic compounds, which are both antioxidants. Carrots’ antioxidant compounds help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision. We just cut scrub whole carrots and cut the ends off and they are ready to eat.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are low in calories and high in vitamin K, anti-oxidants and potassium. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Larry Hoffman

Beets

Beets are full of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin and vulgaxanthin have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.  We slice our beets and roast them with a little olive oil and salt. If the ends of the beet are a mess it is easy enough to slice a little off, but peel on is the way to go.

Eggplant

Photo used under Creative Commons from Nimish Gogri

This is one vegetable that looks much prettier with the skin on. The skin of purple eggplants is packed with a powerful antioxidant called nasunin, one of a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins present in many fruits and vegetables with red, blue and purple hues (berries, beets and red cabbage, to name a few). Choose the purple varieties when you shop, and leave the skin on.

Potatoes

The potatoes skin has loads of fiber and vitamins and helps the potato hold on to its essential nutrients when it’s cooked. The skin is also chock full of vitamin K, potassium, copper and iron. My kids love potatoes with the skin, sliced thinly and roasted until brown and crunchy with olive oil and a bit of salt.

Each of these vegetables just need a good scrub and they are ready to eat. Eating the whole vegetable creates less waste and is all around better for you.

Do you peel your vegetables?  Are you willing to try eating them with the peel on?

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*Top photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Wright

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14 Responses to “5 Vegetables That You Don’t Need to Peel”

  1. Thanks for this! I had no idea eating the peel of a beet was OK – tastes OK that is. And for some reason I always peel our carrots – even though I buy organic. Habit I guess, but I hate it. Thanks for freeing me of that little chore!

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Earth Mama, Lori Popkewitz Alper. Lori Popkewitz Alper said: New Post: 5 Vegetables That You Don’t Need to Peel http://t.co/F1cmImz [...]

  3. Great post! It really does make sense to keep the peels on, especially with veggies that are white/beige on the inside, e.g. cucumbers, eggplant, and potatoes, since bright colours = vitamins and nutrients!

  4. It is a chore, isn’t it! My son takes carrots for lunch and snack every day and it was so freeing to stop peeling. He loves them unpeeled. As for beets, I think they are delicious with the skin on. Let me know what you think.

  5. These pictures are gorgeous…
    and I love when you “lets face it, peeling is a pain”…makes the whole article that much more feesible and so relatable!!

  6. Had dinner w a restaurateur the other night and he brought beets & yams cut into fine spiral strings with a commercial peeler. Said they leave the skins on & all. Tasted delicious! I think there’s a home version of the peeler too.

  7. I am sure they were delicious! The “peeler” cuts the vegetables into spiral strings? I would love one of those-would make the vegetables fun to eat!

  8. I do peel carrots and potatoes if they’re rough, but I save the peels to make stock with. I’ve never eaten beets unpeeled, or roasted for that matter. My only beet recipe is a cold borscht, which is delicious, but chilly when it’s 40 degrees outside. I’ll pick some up to roast soon.

    I just came across the ‘Spiralizer’ tool you mentioned in a raw food cookbook. It looks like a fun toy, but I think I probably have enough kitchen gadgets!

  9. I found you at the new Boston Parent Bloggers Big Tent site! Great article, I always peeled the beets but lately I’m just buying the vacuum sealed ones that are already steamed at Trader Joe’s, saves so much time. :)

  10. Hi Anastasia! So glad you found me. I love the beets from TJ’s too. They’re so easy to use. Unpeeled beets are delicious- give them a try. I just checked out your site too-it’s great :)

  11. What a great idea-making stock with the carrot and potato peel! Roasted beets are da bomb-so delicious. If I decide to try out the spiralizer tool I’ll let you know-it does sound like fun!

  12. […] 5 Vegetables That You Don’t Need to Peel 6 Surprising Things You Can Recycle Green Your Kitchen in 4 Easy Steps […]

  13. Oh my heavens, the beets!! I hate peeling beets! This just made my day!

  14. So glad Michelle! Beets are delicious with the skin on.

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I continue on my journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I just might stop to make some noise about issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I fight for a safer world for all of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes in your life can lead to a non-toxic, healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

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